Benton A&P in great shape, ac­cord­ing to city al­der­men

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Dana Guthrie [email protected]­ton­courier.com

Benton Al­der­man Steve Lee was ap­pointed as the coun­cil’s li­ai­son to the A&P Com­mis­sion dur­ing Mon­day night’s city coun­cil meet­ing. Prior to his res­ig­na­tion from the coun­cil, for­mer Al­der­man Kerry Mur­phy held the po­si­tion.

In ad­di­tion to Lee’s ap­point­ment, Al­der­man Frank Bap­tist briefed the coun­cil on the suc­cesses of the Benton A&P Com­mis­sion and the Benton Event Cen­ter.

“The A&P has shown an in­crease of 9 per­cent over June of 2018,” Bap­tist said. “

The com­mis­sion also re­cently voted to es­tab­lish a re­serve fund in the form of a $190,000 12-month CD.

Bap­tist also touched on the suc­cess of the Benton Event Cen­ter, not­ing that 6,585 peo­ple vis­ited the cen­ter for a num­ber of events in the last month alone.

“(Benton Area Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent/ceo) Gary James re­ported the net in­come from the event cen­ter for Jan­uary to July is $142,616.29,” Bap­tist said.

The coun­cil also ap­proved the ap­point­ment of Steve Brown to the Ward 1 al­der­man po­si­tion to re­place Mur­phy.

The al­der­men also au­tho­rized the city at­tor­ney to file law­suits to abate public nui­sances at four prop­er­ties in­side the Benton city lim­its.

Those prop­er­ties in­clude:

•619 Gertrude - S. River In­vest­ment.

•2219 S. Nee­ley - Kim­berly Brooks.

•2303 S. Nee­ley - Kim­berly Brooks.

•404 Sec­ond Street - Mark

Carter.

Other items ap­proved by the coun­cil in­clude:

•An or­di­nance ac­cept­ing sale pro­ceeds from auc­tioned items for the Benton Po­lice Depart­ment and au­tho­riz­ing the pur­chase of po­lice ve­hi­cles.

•A res­o­lu­tion au­tho­riz­ing the mayor and po­lice chief to ap­ply for grant fund­ing through the Ed­ward Byrne Memo­rial Jus­tice As­sis­tance Grant Pro­gram in or­der to pur­chase new com­put­ers for the BNPD.

•An or­di­nance au­tho­riz­ing the pur­chase of ad­di­tional equip­ment for the Benton Fire Depart­ment.

•An or­di­nance trans­fer­ring money from the gen­eral fund to the an­i­mal con­trol fund.

•An or­di­nance au­tho­riz­ing an early prin­ci­pal pay­ment on the Al­coa Road loan.

•An or­di­nance ac­cept­ing grant funds from the AARP for the design and pur­chase of artis­tic cross­walks and sig­nage in the down­town area.

•An or­di­nance an­nex­ing ter­ri­tory at Exit 114.

•A res­o­lu­tion au­tho­riz­ing the city of Benton to en­ter into a con­tract with the Central Arkansas De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil for space at the Benton Se­nior Well­ness and Ac­tiv­ity Cen­ter.

While the coun­cil was con­sid­er­ing the CADC con­tract, Benton res­i­dent Pa­trica Ash­ley asked to ad­dress the coun­cil. Although not re­lated to the is­sue the al­der­man were con­sid­er­ing, Ash­ley re­quested that the coun­cil pass a res­o­lu­tion rec­og­niz­ing the his­tory of the Africaname­r­i­can com­mu­nity in the city.

“We have an Africaname­r­i­can com­mu­nity in Benton,” Ashely said. “It’s been here since 1904. Prop­erty was pur­chased. In 1907, it was plat­ted and it’s a thriv­ing com­mu­nity. It still stands. It’s a com­mu­nity of fam­i­lies that have chil­dren and grand­chil­dren and it’s been es­tab­lished.”

Ash­ley said she would like to com­mem­o­rate the Africaname­r­i­can com­mu­nity in the cel­e­bra­tions of the city.

“I would also like to see the neigh­bor­hood not re­ferred to as a bad part of town,” Ash­ley said.

Benton Mayor Tom Farmer thanked Ash­ley for her com­ments.

All meet­ings are open to the public and at­ten­dance is en­cour­aged.

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